Why pretend Iraq is writing their constitution?

I can imagine that if I were Iraqi, I would not be too pleased at receiving “assistance” from the US-led “coalition” in writing my constitution and structuring my society.

Wouldn’t it be a more honest process to unabashedly admit that we run Iraq right now, whether as a protectorate, occupied territory, or whatever other designation you prefer. Think of post-WW!! Japan. Or the repatriation of Hong Kong. Acknowledge that we intend to unilaterally impose temporary rules of occupation, reflecting some sort of representative democracy, for a specific period – maybe 10 months, maybe 10 years - after which the whole mess would be up to the Iraqis themselves, to come up with whatever system they prefer?

Why pretend Iraq is writing their constitution?
For the same reason we pretend that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with al Qaeda or 9/11, or that Bush really went to war only as a last resort, or that Iraqi WMDs are equally equivalent to “plans for weapons programs and equipment” – to give a symbolic fig-leaf to cover up the Preisdent’s naked ambition.

Is it a secret that Paul Bremer is running the show in Iraq right now? And, that he will continue to do so until at least July. I would also think that Iraq would want the assistance of the U.S. or some other government that has a working constitution to help them draft their’s. Which parts of our constitution do you think are bad and shoudn’t be a model for Iraq’s?

Fine, Hammer. You think the US or “some other government with a constitution” should assist Iraq in drafting theirs. But why should your opinion (I’m assuming you are not an Iraqi) mean anything? Isn’t it common to request whether someone desires assistance, before forcing them to accept it?

You ask me what portion of the US Constitution I feel they should not adopt. I’m not sure it should be up to me, or any other American individual or institution, to determine exactly what form of government a foreign state chooses to adopt for itself.

Strikes me as rather paternalistic.

We consider ourself a sovereign state, capable of making decisions for ourself. As the president said last night – we don’t need a permission slip from anybody else. Yet, we are apparently unwilling to extend a similar freedom to Iraq…

It seems to me that it would be more honest to acknowledge that we were instituting a set of interim rules under which we would be running things for some set period. During that period, we would help any indigenous groups develop the means to participate in whatever form of society the Iraqi people chooses to adopt. We also would be able to exert considerable influence during that period to increase the chances that any institutions they adopt would resemble and be friendly towards ours.

As the saying goes, don’t piss on my head and tell me its raining.

Aside from a cynical or at least skeptical point of view, what evidence do you have that the current process of establishing an Iraqi Constitution is not accurately depicted?

More honest? Yes. But is honesty necessarily a better idea? Look at it this way. The supposed plan for the Middle East is that we invade Iraq and turn it into a functioning secular democracy. We then use this functioning democracy to show the whole Arab world that the great idea of democracy can work for them to, thus winning “hearts and minds” and leading to victory in the war on terror. The problem, of course, is that if open elections were simply held right at this moment, the leading candidates, presumably, would come from the Shi’ite majority and would support the imposition of Islamic Law. Thus, far from becoming a shining example of secular democracy in action, Iraq would soon become one of the worst countries in the world as far as human rights are concerned. There is no alternative other than to try to tweak the system so that Shi’ites loyal to hardline clerics won’t be able to impose their will on everybody else.

But of course that contradicts the promise we made to support this concept called “democracy”. If we just stood up and said that we were desparately attempting to prevent the majority from gaining power in Iraq, it would look hypocritical because it is hypocritical. When we said that we wanted democracy, we were lying. What the United States is trying for is a system that allows America to continue wielding political power in Iraq for as long as the Chickenhawks think it’s necessary. After all, there’s already been buzz about using Iraq as a base of operations for further military action in the area. If Bush really wants to do that, he can’t take the risk of a democratic government voting to stop allowing American troops on Iraqi soil, can he?